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Retinol Treatment for Aging Skin

Topical vitamin A in the form of retinol and retinoic acid is probably
the most studied anti-wrinkle ingredient. Retinoic acid speeds up cell division
thus quickening skin renewal, prevents collagen from breaking down, and helps
improve skin tone. However, retinoic acid has many side effects, including skin
redness and irritation.

To minimize side effects, retinol is used instead in
non-prescription anti-aging creams and lotions. Retinol is slowly converted to
retinoic acid once it penetrates the skin, causing retinoic acid-like skin
rejuvenating effects. The slow conversion to retinoic acid makes incidence of skin
irritation much less.

Old retinol formulas have encountered stability and efficacy
issues. Retinol is highly unstable when exposed to air and may get degraded
even before skin application. New formulations now use advanced
nano-encapsulation technology to address this important retinol stability

Nano-encapsulated retinol makes
DERMAX Retinol C highly effective.

Of all the clinical studies on retinol, one stands out for having
geriatrics as its subjects. The study published in the Archives of
 describes the clinical effect of retinol lotion (0.4%) on 36
subjects with ages 80 to 96. 
“Safe and effective therapies to reverse the atrophy of natural skin aging do not exist currently,” the investigators led by Dr. Kang wrote, “possibly because skin aging is poorly understood, and conducting clinical studies in a geriatric population represents a considerable challenge.”

At each visit, topical retinol lotion was applied to the upper-inner (sun-protected) portion of one arm and its vehicle lotion (a popular brand of body moisturizer) was applied to the other arm. Lotions were applied up to three times a week for 24 weeks.

The fine wrinkles
of intrinsic aging began to improve after four weeks of retinol use, with
continued improvement throughout the study, the researchers reported. The four-week
response was faster than that observed in photoaging studies. Typically, at
least two to three months of topical retinoic acid therapy is needed before
noting any significant improvement in wrinkles caused by photoaging.

After 24 weeks, there were significant differences between
retinol-treated and vehicle-treated skin for changes in fine wrinkling scores.
Retinol treatment significantly increased collagen production in six patients
by about 40% compared with vehicle treatment.

The improvement was not permanent. Three months after the
therapy was discontinued the difference in fine wrinkle severity had lessened
between the retinol- and vehicle-treated sides but remained significant. Six
months after the discontinuation of retinol treatment, no significant
differences remained between the 2 sides. 

If topical retinol
can improve fine wrinkles, collagen deficiency, and atrophy in the fragile skin
of elderly subjects, it should be able to do more on younger, less challenging
______________________________________________________________________________________This was published in the June 5, 2012 issue of Manila Bulletin, Lifestyle Section. The author is the CEO of SkinStation. He received the 2011
Outstanding Chemist Award from Professional Regulations Commission for his
achievements in the field of cosmetic chemistry. He can be reached at

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